Tesla the Showman knocks ’em dead at the AIEE with a lecture for the ages and a breathtaking demonstration of high frequency AC. It was his ticket to fame and celebrity.
As mentioned in this week’s episode, to get a good visual sense of how Tesla would use the ‘skin effect’ of his oscillating transformer to wow Gilded Age audiences, you need look no further than David Bowie’s portrayal of Nikola Tesla from the Christopher Nolan movie, The Prestige (if you haven’t seen it–seriously, do so right away):
And while there are apparently no photographs of these moments, Tesla would also create a glowing halo of energy around himself at his demonstrations, as illustrated here:
Fresh from his return from Europe, Tesla goes on an inventing spree and dabbles in high-frequency currents. But when George Westinghouse comes calling and pleads poverty, Tesla makes a fateful and costly mistake…
The War of the Currents enters its most ghoulish and macabre phase: when the combatants were willing to play with a man’s life. William Kemmler became the first person put to death by deliberate electrocution. Viewer discretion is very much advised.
When New York became the first state to execute people using the electric chair, Edison and his DC supporters would do anything to ensure it was alternating current that powered “Old Sparky”…
War is hell, even when it’s the War of the Currents. Harold Brown’s campaign against AC turns deadly, as he conducts gruesome electrical experiments on stray dogs, and helps set the stage for New York’s first electric chair…
It’s that time of year again: speculative fiction award season!
Calling all Canadians: Aurora Award nominations–the top Canadian prize in speculative fiction–are now open (until May 26), and if you’d like to support me then I hope you’ll consider nominating “The Waxing Disquiet” from me and co-author Tony Pi, eligible for Best Short Fiction. You can read it here for free until nominations close.
And if you’re not Canadian, well, feel free to read it anyway! Tony and I are quite proud of our beeswax-and-candle-punk tale 🙂
“The Waxing Disquiet” originally appeared in Deep Magic (June 2017).
Oops! For some reason this didn’t post with the latest episode of the podcast. Sorry about that…
As promised, here’s what Edison’s “longest and most splenetic howl of corporate outrage” looked like.
All caps, naturally.
The War of the Currents begins! Edison uses every dirty trick he can think of in the struggle for DC dominance vs. the AC upstart. There can be only one (format)!
Did the Westinghouse engineers want Tesla to fail in Pittsburgh? He went to consult, but all Tesla found was a hornet’s nest of resentment, ego, and competing agendas. And what was Edison up to now that Westinghouse was a threat to his DC business? A current war is in the offing…